An unscrupulous prophet and four other men have been nabbed after they allegedly kidnapped a three-year-old girl in Mpumalanga and later demanded a ransom of R28000 from her uncle to find her.
The toddler, who was snatched while playing with friends outside her home at 6pm last week, was found safe three days later at the Nelspruit taxi rank, after the prophet led the family through his "prophesy".
The prophet allegedly kidnapped Lulu Shabalala and then charged her uncle Sam Shabalala R28000 for helping him find his little niece.
"A day after Lulu went missing a neighbour advised us to go and seek help from a prophet in Masibekela village," said Phindile Mogale, Lulu's aunt.
She was shocked when the prophet demanded a whopping R28000 to bring Lulu back.
She said after paying a R300 deposit the prophet then told the family that the child was in Nelspruit taxi rank and was about to be transported to Bushbuckridge by an unknown person.
Her husband promised to pay the balance of the money as soon as Lulu was back home.
The unnamed prophet and the two men who had initially recommended the prophet's services to the family, accompanied Sam Shabalala to the Nelspruit taxi rank.
Shabalala's wife secretly called the police who followed them at a distance.
"On the way, the prophet kept sending SMS messages and when we arrived at the taxi rank, he advised us to search in the taxis, especially those going to Bushbuckridge because he could see my daughter in a Bushbuckridge taxi and Lulu's cries were eventually heard," Mogale said.
Mogale said one of the men later confessed that he was made to steal the girl by a local well-known prophet.
Constable Nompilo Qwabe, said five men, including the prophet, were arrested at the scene. They are due to appear in the Boschfontein periodical court today on charges of kidnapping.